Friday, August 9, 2019
Constructivism and post-structuralism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 3000 words
Constructivism and post-structuralism - Essay Example Definitions of constructivism frequently stress the dual character of social and material world. Social constructions, in this conceptualisation, must refer back to and hook up with a pre-existing materiality. Adler argues that the material world shapes human interaction and vice versa. Jeffrey Checkel says that 'the environment in which agents/states take action is social as well as material'. These descriptions invoke a duality of the social and the material and thereby claim an existence independent of representations for the material realm. Peter Katzenstein, Robert Keohane and Stephen Krasner stress that constructivists insist 'on the primacy of intersubjective structures that give the material world meaning'. This takes us on to a second key element of constructivism, namely intersubjectivity. According to Adler, constructivism's 'importance and its added value for the study of International Relations lie mainly in its emphasis on the ontological reality of intersubjective know ledge and on the epistemological and methodological implications of this reality'. He devotes an entire section to elucidating intersubjectivity as collectively shared knowledge which both empowers and constrains actors and also defines social reality. The upshot of Adler's portrayal of constructivism is, as the title of his article suggests, that it has a justifiable claim to the 'middle ground', which he construes as situated between rationalism and poststructuralism. Adler identifies 'seizing the middle ground' as the key.